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Software Developers Journey

Technology Podcasts

Becoming a software developer is a journey. The Software Developers Journey show is an inspirational podcast for software developers. Every week, a successful software engineer shares their journey and tells us what they learned.




Becoming a software developer is a journey. The Software Developers Journey show is an inspirational podcast for software developers. Every week, a successful software engineer shares their journey and tells us what they learned.








#271 Una Kravets joining bleeding edge design and coding at Google

Una Kravets's journey in the tech world has been nothing short of captivating. From her dedication to creating and enhancing the user interface space to her insightful perspectives on the ever-evolving challenges of web development, Una's story is one of passion, innovation, and unwavering dedication. Her experiences span a wide range of tech endeavors, from her involvement in the W3C community and standards to her unique insights into the intricate world of web design. Una placed the start of her journey in her young childhood with Neopets, AIM, MySpace, and the Sims. She described how her passion for design slowly merged into the Web. We discussed her college studies and how she stumbled upon communities at 18. We talked about learning in the open, internships, and learning some more. We discussed how she landed at Google, got into DeveloperRelations, and came to work on the CSS Working Group and OpenUI Community Group. In this episode, Una discusses the complexities of navigating the vast web development landscape and how she has found her perfect spot in the CSS and UI space. She touches upon her involvement in working groups, the challenges of backward compatibility on the web, and the joys of Developer Relations (DevRel). Moreover, Una shares her wisdom on the importance of community involvement, whether by joining, creating, or discovering one, and the impact of documenting one's learning journey through blogging. If you want to learn more about the challenges of backward compatibility on the web and get inspiration from Una's incredible journey, then tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode Support the show


#270 Tejas Kumar between hemophilia, learning and digging deeper

From facing unexpected challenges in his school days to rising to the occasion as a software developer, Tejas Kumar's journey is nothing short of remarkable. He candidly speaks about facing adversity and how those experiences shaped his perspective, even leading him to unexpected avenues in the world of tech. Tejas placed the start of his journey when he discovered HTML. We then followed the story of his childhood, juggling between a life-threatening medical disease called hemophilia and surfing his desire to understand how things work. Our discussion then centered itself on learning and how it slowly became the core of his work, his business, and his life. In this episode, Tejas Kumar delves deep into his experiences, from the unique way his brain processes learning to the importance of shocking the system post intense focus sessions. He discusses the vital importance of sleep and offers practical advice to young learners to prioritize learning in their early years. If you are interested to learn more about the intricacies of effective learning techniques and get inspiration from Tejas's incredible journey, then tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode Support the show


#269 Lilly Chen from high-school dropout to monk and tech-founder

From humble beginnings working on a spreadsheet application to grappling with the rapid transformations in the developer industry, Lilly Chen's journey through the software realm has been nothing short of fascinating. With experiences ranging from the challenges of being a first-time manager to the profound influence of mentors who "lifted as they climbed," Lilly offers a unique perspective on growth, resilience, and paving the way for others. Lilly placed the start of her journey in high school, where she spent more days out than in high school. She told us about her health problems and how she spent a year as a monk in a monastery in China. We spoke of people lifting her and how she returned to the USA. We discussed her college studies and the people who made a long-lasting impact on her. We talked about how she became a developer, her first memorable interview, and how she slowly entered the world of startups. We finally talked about Contenda, the company she created. In this episode, Lilly takes us from her first steps into software development to her present-day leadership role at Contenda. She delves into the challenges and triumphs she has faced, highlighting the invaluable lessons she has learned along the way. With a focus on mentorship and the pivotal role early managers play in shaping a career, Lilly stresses the significance of receiving guidance and providing it to the next generation of developers. If you want to learn more about the ethos of "lifting as you climb" and get inspiration from Lilly's incredible journey, tune in to this episode! Three Compelling Reasons to Listen to the Full Episode: unique insightsimportance of mentorship"lifting as you climb"Support the show


#268 Felienne Hermans rethinking how to teach kids to program with Hedy

Stepping into the tech world is one thing, but embracing it with a passion for teaching and enhancing the way technology is learned represents a calling of a different order. Felienne Hermans' life has been a vibrant blend of software development, advocating for better ways of teaching coding and recognizing the importance of guiding the young generation into the programming world. Her journey from receiving her first computer and experiencing unique educational opportunities to her innovative software projects speaks volumes of her dedication. Interestingly, Felienne placed the start of her journey right when she got her Ph.D. in Computer Science and faced the "now what?" She told us how she enrolled as a high-school computer science teacher and failed flat on her face, teaching 12 years old kids the same way she used to teach 18 years olds. We then explored how we learn, becoming less and less terrible at teaching 12-year-olds and gradually building Hedy, a programming language designed for kids to learn programming. In this episode, Felienne discusses her foray into the world of tech and how she transformed from perceiving herself as a genius child to realizing the privileges she was afforded. She delves into the importance of teaching, her six-year tenure as a high school teacher, and her involvement in the Headey software project. She emphasizes understanding one's interests and skills to find a sustainable and impactful career path. If you are interested to learn more about the evolution of tech education and get inspiration from Felienne's incredible journey, then tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#267 Steve Upton from adversarial relationships with devs to QA in high performing teams

In the ever-evolving realm of software development and testing, it's rare to encounter someone with as vast and varied an experience as Steve Upton. From his early foray into quality assurance to his insights on teamwork and agile methodologies, Steve's journey offers a lens into the nuanced world of development from a quality-first perspective. Steve placed the start of his journey coding in YABASIC on a PS2 and creating the infamous program "Insultor." Fast forward a few years, he graduated with a CS degree, and having worked as an intern at IBM; he applied for a graduate program. We discussed how he was given a "tester" role, which incidentally defined the rest of his career. We talked about testing practices at IBM, adversarial relationships with devs & moving to the polar opposite in a high-performing team Here. We discussed what "quality" really means, and then we talked about the hiring process, biases, working in the open (and writing blogs about backpacking trips with a GPS), the transition, and what he learned Here. We finally talked about his current work as a consultant for ThoughtWorks and how he would advise learning more about quality. In this episode, Steve shares his thoughts on the significance of agile testing and recommends foundational books. He delves into his experiences, highlighting the importance of a whole-team approach and the continuous pursuit of better, alternative software development and testing methods. If you want to learn more about agile testing methodologies and get inspiration from Steve's incredible journey, tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#266 Cory O'Daniel from a suit and a tie to one startup after the other

The realm of software development is as vast as it is intricate. For Cory O'Daniel, it's been a journey marked by coding and understanding the deeper nuances of being a software developer. Cory took a detour, discovering that there's more to the world of tech than just writing code – there's a profound beauty in problem-solving, connecting with peers, and carving out personal space in a rapidly evolving remote work landscape. Cory placed the start of his journey in high school, modding Duke Nukem 3D. He then described how working a data-entry job in a hospital to make ends meet got him to automate his work through coding. He talked about his college physics major and the dire future it promised and how he chose to major in Networking and Computer Science instead. We then went from one job to the next. Ditching the first job requiring a suit and tie (but where he was caught reading the D&D reference manuals during his work) for Californian startups where he could wear shorts & teeshirts. We talked about the colorful startups he experienced and the crazy technical contraptions some of those required. We talked about becoming a Digital Nomad before iPhones were a thing. And finally, we touched on Massdriver, Cory's current company. In this episode, Cory O'Daniel invites us into his world, sharing his unique transition from hands-on coding to leadership and his candid thoughts on the art of balancing remote work. He touches upon the necessity of asynchronous communication, the serenity in pacing during calls, and the sometimes underrated joy of turning off video feeds. Through his journey, we see a reflection of modern-day work challenges and how passion, adaptability, and a dash of humor can make all the difference. If you want to learn more about the intricacies of remote work and derive inspiration from Cory's remarkable journey, this episode is a must-listen! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Discover Cory's Unique JourneyInsights on Remote WorkEvolution in Tech CareerSupport the show


#265 Mirjam Aulbach accountant, dog trainer, and senior engineer

Unfolding the story of a truly diverse career trajectory, Mirjam Aulbach joins us to share her captivating journey from pursuing an accounting career and dog training to evolving into a full-fledged software developer. Mirjam's tale isn't just about career changes; it's about her lifelong passion for coding and how she kept it alive while juggling multiple roles in different domains, highlighting the power of persistence and dedication in shaping one's career. In this episode, Mirjam opens up about her unconventional journey into software development, her experiences working with different teams, and her transition to remote work during the pandemic. She also talks about her perspective on testing and her side project, 'Conference Buddy'. Mirjam's unique experience enables her to bring invaluable insights into the interconnectedness of social sciences, understanding emotions, and software development. If you want to learn more about the dynamics of transitioning careers and maintaining a balance between diverse roles and get inspiration from Mirjam's incredible journey, tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#264 Nnenna Ndukwe driven by curiosity from a tanning salon to dev advocacy

Nnenna Ndukwe is a seasoned software developer who profoundly understands the essence of community and its value in shaping one's career journey. In a world often dictated by individual prowess, Nnenna's story is a testament to the power of shared wisdom and the transformative capacity of communal learning in the tech industry. With a passion for continuous growth and a heart to impact others, her story reverberates the truth that one's journey can indeed inspire the journeys of many others. Nnenna placed the start of her journey in a tanning salon, where she spent her breaks and quiet time on Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp. From there, she spoke about her one-way ticket to Boston, how she immersed herself in communities and followed her insatiable curiosity. She talked about her boot camp and how she found a job. She discussed working in the open and how it led to her dev advocacy role. In this episode, Nnenna discusses her journey from curiosity to proficiency in the world of coding and how being part of tech communities played a crucial role in her growth. Her emphasis on skipping lessons that others have already learned, and the value of listening to the stories of others, offers profound insights into learning and career growth. She also touches upon the joy she derives from mentoring and the sense of fulfillment she gets from seeing newcomers progress in their tech careers. If you want to learn more about the influential role of communities in career development and get inspiration from Nnenna's incredible journey, tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#263 Phil Alves maker of product-developer teams

Phil Alves, founder of DevSquad and LiveStats, is a software entrepreneur driven by building impactful solutions. From his humble beginnings, coding at age 12, to becoming a leader of development teams, his path has been marked by curiosity, determination, and a desire to improve developers' lives. Phil placed the start of his journey with Flash and ActionScript and then with PHP, with which he created his first business at the age of 16. We then discussed learning in the open, growing and selling his business. Moving to the USA, returning to school, and taking his first (and last) "job." We talked about his side business, which became DevSquad, his company of 100 people now. We talked about product developers vs. software developers. We discussed development cycles and customer relations. And we finished talking about the SaaS business he is creating, DevStats, and how to create hyper-performing teams. In this episode, Phil discusses his journey from a self-taught developer to an entrepreneur creating high-performing development teams. He delves into the challenges of growing a company and transitioning from deep work to managerial tasks. He also shares insights on building a solid company culture, fostering efficiency, and promoting a balance between productivity and preventing burnout. The conversation further delves into the role of data in improving team performance and the importance of product mindset in developers. If you want to learn more about fostering high-performing development teams and get inspiration from Phil's incredible journey, tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#262 Chris Zimmerman and his story of the Sucker Punch game studio

Join us in this enlightening conversation with Chris Zimmerman, the co-founder of Sucker Punch Productions, the powerhouse behind globally successful games like Infamous and Ghost of Tsushima. Chris started his journey as a software developer and evolved into a trailblazer in the gaming industry, showing the same resilience and innovation in his career as the characters in his games do. Chris placed the start of his journey in the mid-70s, programming games for an Apple II computer. During childhood, he was passionate about games and programming and enrolled in a CS Degree at Princeton. After his degree, he worked at Microsoft for ten years before leaving with other Microsoft alumni to create the Sucker Punch game studio. We then discussed what he took from this career into the next. An excellent discussion ensued about what makes Sucker Punch a unique place, Chris' vision and leadership, his philosophy, and the book he wrote to help 22 years old passionate developers grow. In this episode, Chris shares his journey from his early years coding games on Apple II to pioneering Sucker Punch Productions. He talks about the fascinating process of game development, how it intertwines with storytelling, and the importance of adaptability in this ever-evolving industry. Chris also offers candid advice to aspiring game developers, emphasizing the importance of being self-starters and taking initiative to create and complete projects. If you are interested to learn more about the unique blend of storytelling and programming in game development and get inspiration from Chris's incredible journey, then tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#261 Chelsea Troy from ~lacking intellectual firepower~ to rocking at Mozilla

Chelsea Troy, an inquisitive software engineer, data scientist, and respected educator, passionately shares her story, from the impactful challenges she faced in the nascent stage of her journey to her growth into a successful developer and teacher. Chelsea found her love for software development and data science in a winding path full of determination and resilience. Her inspiring story is a testament to her belief in the importance of accessible education and the potential that can be unleashed when suitable teaching methods are employed. Chelsea placed the start of her journey in undergrad with the insightful tale of an introduction to programming class involving a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. We then discussed how one teacher cut her wings by telling her she "lacked the intellectual firepower" to become a dev. She went on to study to become a spy instead. Just before entering this world, she realized she had missed the feeling she had had during this first programming class and decided to embrace development in a boot camp. We talked about her learning habits and how they helped her get a job at Pivotal Labs; we talked about legacy code and how those learning habits helped her become excellent at gaining context. In this episode, Chelsea eloquently articulates her career path and educational philosophies. She talks about her experiences dealing with discouraging feedback, the importance of reframing such experiences as learning opportunities, and how she overcame hurdles to become a proficient developer. Chelsea also highlights her views on the importance of a holistic approach to teaching, emphasizing designing accessible pedagogy. Throughout the conversation, she presents various book recommendations for those interested in software development and data engineering. If you are interested in learning more about accessible education and pedagogy, and getting inspiration from Chelsea's incredible journey, tune in to this episode! Three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: Support the show


#260 Sev Huffmann between development at Microsoft and Deaf Culture

Sev placed the start of her journey back in China as a child passionate about maths and logic. She then described how she struggled to find her way through education after losing her hearing. She talked about how she could go to the USA and study Information Technology at Gallaudet University. She then spoke about the Microsoft Explorer Program, which allowed her to dip her toes into software development and realize she was unprepared for more. We discussed how she enrolled in a Computer Science Master's degree at Washington State University and how different her curricular and extracurricular experience was compared to Gallaudet's. We finally talked about her returning to Microsoft, being part of a team, how teamwork makes diversity, working on Loop, and the future of collaboration. Here are the links from the show sevhuffman@gmail.com LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal LicenseSupport the show


#259 Larysa Visengeriyeva from mind scripts and biases to MLOps

Larysa placed the start of her journey in the country she was born in, the Soviet Union, with her discovery of those books filled with 0s and 1s that she could not understand. Fast forward a few years, and she is hooked by Maths and Computer Science and doesn't want to do anything else. After her Master's degree in Odessa, she moved to Germany and studied again. From then on, we talked about how she pursued a Ph.D., pivoted on the problem she was tackling, and discovered a new field ML-Ops. We discussed the state of ML-Ops, how it is placed in the "Data" and ML problem chain, and how one should go at it. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#258 Lisa Crispin on a journey to define what quality means

From a trainee reconversion program in the early 80s, Lisa took us on a fantastic testing journey. From discovering Agile before its time, living through highly collaborative Waterfall projects, to embracing XP and being one of the first to challenge the absence of "Testers" in the first installments of the method. Lisa spoke of how she came to write her first book, working with legends of our industry and kept being fascinated by quality. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#257 Emmanuel Gaillot componist, psychotherapist, humanist & programmer

Emmanuel placed the start his journey in the 80s in a computer club. He described how he learned GW-BASIC and became hooked. He told about his love for music and how his parents encouraged him to pursue "real studies." He explained how he went to the USA to study Computer Science, music, and Japanese... and became a theater composer. He discussed his first job as a programmer and being bored (and bad at it) until he discovered eXtremeProgramming. He talked about learning TDD, exploring what became Katas, and creating a coding dojo. He spoke about finding psychotherapy, becoming a psychotherapist, and much more. This was a wild ride worth every minute. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#256 Krisztina Hirth ran away from a boring life

Krisztina placed the start of her journey by writing a few lines of PHP on a website and being hooked. But then we rolled back to hear about her life behind the iron curtain in her home country of Romania. We discussed her first career as a mechanical engineer and how this led her to write her first BASIC lines of code, move to Germany, and start from scratch. We talked about her reconversion and not finding jobs. We spoke about the job she finally found and how this opened her to a world of possibilities and communities. Finally, we discussed architecture, the coding architect, and her current role. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#255 Tomas Petricek always looking under the covers

Tomas placed the start of his journey in high school, where he was part of a group of friends interested in computers. His interest in "understanding what's under the hood" ignited there. He explained how working in the open, publishing small open-source components got him to "professional development" alongside his university studies. Then we talked about how his interest in transpiling C# to Javascript (before transpiling to JS was cool) led him to F#, which led him to a working relationship with Don Syme (designer of F#), which led him to Cambridge University, etc. We talked about his Ph.D. around context-dependent programming languages and coeffects. We ended on science philosophy, debugging & testing, and how languages are taught nowadays at university. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#254 Marjorie Aubert from nurturing plants to mob programming

Marjorie placed the start of her journey during her work as an agronomist when she wrote her first R lines of code. She explained how her childhood in southern France brought her to study plants, create a hydroponic startup, work on risk and project management, and slowly become interested in web development. We spoke of her Bootcamp and how she found her first job. We discussed eXtreme-Programming and Mob-Programming, and what it's like to be a newbie in a teaching environment. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#253 Mathias Verraes from music to languages and models

Mathias placed the start of his journey with both hands on a TRS-80 computer and no other games to play than a compiler and the BASIC language. But fast forward a few years, we spoke about his music studies, his work creating music for ads and movies, and how programming came back as a hobby, which finally took precedence. We then jumped with both feet into languages and modeling. We spent the rest of the interview talking about interactions and how models serve us programmers and help our domains innovate. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show


#252 Diana Montalion from a bookstore to systems thinking

Diana placed the start of her journey with her grandmother and maths, and having the feeling that she loved the wrong things. We discussed how she discovered computers but didn't embrace them for a long time. Diana explained how she wanted to become a writer, moved to Montana, and opened a bookshop. We talked about isolation and rediscovering programming, online gaming, and communities and how she finally went all-in, moved to Austin, TX, and said "YES" to everything. We saw how she became a systems expert, her favorite topic nowadays. Here are the links from the show LegendsHoliznaCC0CC0 1.0 Universal Licensetimbourguignon.fr the show